How To Fillet Redfish — A Quick and Easy Guide

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Are you wondering how to expertly fillet redfish for your next home-cooked meal? Understanding how to properly fillet this popular and flavorful fish is essential for anyone looking to bring out the best of their seafood dishes. In this comprehensive guide, we’re sharing how you can fillet redfish.

how to fillet redfish

Many anglers usually score one of the country’s most popular sport fish. And somewhere between your catch and cook is learning how to fillet a redfish

The redfish, otherwise known as the red drum, make a good table feast. Get your knife and board ready for this simple, fast, and easy way of preparing your redfish. 

Here’s a step-by-step process on how to fillet redfish. 

The Short Answer

To fillet a redfish, make a cut behind the fish’s pectoral fin and gills, angled towards the head, down to the spine. Then, using the spine as a guide, turn your knife flat and begin cutting along the spine towards the tail. To make it easier to skin the fillet, leave a small bit attached near the tail. Then, flip the fish over and continue the procedure. Finally, put the fillet skin-side down and cut between the flesh and skin while pulling the skin back.

Listen to more tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

The Long Answer

Preparing to Fillet Redfish

A sharp fillet knife is important when filleting fish.

Here are things you need to start filleting redfish.

1. Sharp Fillet Knife

The first tool you’ll need is a quality fillet knife. Choose one that’s flexible and sharp, ready to follow the contours of the fish with ease and precision.

2. Cutting Board

Next, you’ll need a solid cutting board. You might think, “Hey, any board will do!” But here’s the secret, a cutting board with a good grip will keep your redfish steady while you make your filleting magic. Some boards even come with a fish clamp, making your job easier.

3. Bowl, Clean Cloth, and Tweezers

Then come the supporting actors: a bowl for the parts you won’t be using, a clean cloth to wipe down surfaces, and a set of fish bone tweezers in case there are bones left after you fillet the redfish.

How to Fillet Redfish with Knife

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Filleting redfish is fairly easy and simple. You just need your sharp knife, a cutting board, or a surface, and you caught redfish, of course. 

Step 1. Cut through the fin

You want to cut at an angle behind the pectoral fin of your redfish and go all the way down over the top of the stomach.

Step 2: Cut through the spine

Take your name and cut through the spine and go all the way down to the tail while making sure your fingers are in the proper position. Then, lift the meat a little and start going your fillet knife through all the way down to separate the meat from the spine right through the tail. 

Step 3: Flip your fin

After filleting one side, turn the fish to the other side and repeat the same process. This time, take extra care as there is less stability in handling with the meat on the other side gone. 

Tip! If there are fish bones left in your redfish, use the tweezers to remove them.

How to Fillet Redfish with Electric Knife

Using an electric knife to fillet redfish is much preferable to many anglers as this requires lesser effort and force. The process is the same, but more care is taken as the knife can do more damage if not controlled well.

What You Need to Know About Redfish

Redfish is one of the tastiest fish.

The redfish isn’t just popular among fishermen, but it’s also a superstar in kitchens. Redfish has a firm yet tender meat. When cooked, it fills the room with a mouth-watering aroma. It’s one of the tastiest fish found along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

And just like other seafood, redfish lose their desirability and flavor when they age and grow bigger. Because of this, a lot of anglers only cook redfish that are under 12 pounds. Redfish that are over 15 pounds have a fishy flavor.

To sum it up, redfish are remarkable creatures that offer benefits beyond their spirited fight when being reeled in and their delicious taste. They’re a meal that nourishes your body and leaves your taste buds begging for more. Now that’s a fish worth knowing about!

How to Cook Redfish

Grilled redfish steak with green beans and lemon

Redfish can be prepared as a tasty meal to be enjoyed. There are multiple ways you can prepare redfish meat. You can have the fish meat grilled, sauteed, roasted, blackened, fried, or used as filling for your tacos.

In any way you prepare the redfish, you get to savor its mildly sweet flavor. 

But for redfish fillets, try this baked redfish fillets recipe.

How to Store Redfish Fillets

If you’re planning on storing your fillet, get your ziploc bag ready while filleting.

Storing redfish fillets is like wrapping a precious gift. You need to keep them cold to hold on to their freshness and flavor. As soon as your fillet is ready, gently place it in a ziploc bag. Remove as much air as you can from the bag before you seal it. This bag is like a mini fortress, protecting your fillet from the frosty air in your refrigerator or freezer.

Raw redfish fillets can only be kept for 1 or 2 days before cooking. On the other hand, cooked redfish can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Remember, storing your redfish fillets isn’t just about keeping them for later. It’s about preserving the delicious reward from your fishing trip. So, follow these steps, and when it’s time to cook, your redfish fillets will taste as fresh as the day you caught them. Happy storing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do redfish taste good?

Redfish has a mild, sweet flavor with a medium-firm texture. Many anglers enjoy the superior taste of the moist white meat of redfish. 

Can you grab a redfish by the mouth?

Most fish should not be handled directly by the mouth. With the redfish, you can get a good grip on their down-turned mouth. Gloves are must-haves when handling redfish or any fish. Safety always comes first. 

Can you eat redfish raw?

No. It’s not recommended to eat redfish raw. Their raw meat is known to carry ocean parasites that can be dangerous when eaten. Remember, eating raw fish always carries a slight risk, so it’s best to cook your redfish fillets to ensure they’re safe to eat.

What should I do if there are still bones in my redfish fillet?

A pair of tweezers can come in handy for removing any stray bones from your fillet. They’re small and often flexible, which allows you to pull bones out without damaging the meat.

Why is my redfish fillet falling apart?

There’s nothing to worry about. Redfish flesh is tender and can fall apart if handled roughly. When filleting and handling your redfish, be gentle. To minimize tearing, always use a sharp fillet knife and glide it smoothly through the flesh.

I’ve never filleted a fish before. Is redfish a good starting point?

Absolutely! The redfish has fewer bones and soft flesh, making it an excellent fish for honing your filleting skills. Furthermore, their size is manageable. Remember that it’s normal to make mistakes on your first few attempts. You’ll get the hang of it quickly!

I don’t have a fillet knife. Can I still fillet a redfish?

While it’s possible to fillet a fish with a regular knife, a fillet knife is designed specifically for the task and will make it much easier. It’s flexible and sharp, allowing for precise, clean cuts. If you’re planning to fillet fish regularly, investing in a fillet knife would be a good move.

The Verdict

So, there you have it! Understanding the majestic redfish will help you in expertly filleting it, and preserving those precious fillets for future culinary adventures. Learning to fillet your own redfish isn’t just about cutting up a fish; it’s a voyage of discovery and self-reliance.

Filleting redfish brings you closer to nature and teaches you to value the resources it gives. This expertise allows you to enjoy the freshness of the sea in every bite, and it’s a fun way to wow your loved ones with your culinary skills.

Don’t be shy, bring out that fillet knife and try it! Remember that practice makes perfect, even if your first fillet isn’t ideal. Each redfish you fillet brings you closer to mastering the technique.

Furthermore, once you’ve obtained your fillets, a world of culinary innovation awaits you. Every cooking technique brings out a distinct aspect of the flavor of your redfish, whether it’s grilled, baked, fried, or poached.

So, why not try filleting and cooking redfish? Who can say? It may be the start of a new chapter in your book of fishing and culinary adventures. The sea is teeming with redfish just waiting to be caught, filleted, and devoured.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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